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Chapter One

Leonardo walked out of the counselor’s office with frustration, scrunching his petition into a paper ball.

“I can’t just force you on a new mentor. You’ll have to find someone willing to accept you.”

He groaned, remembering the female counselor’s strict business-like voice. So what if he wanted to change majors in the middle of the semester and on his last year for that matter?

He walked out the executive corridor, his brows fixed in a somewhat permanent frown. Where in the world was he going to find a new master to take him so late in the year?

He’d started out as a violin major at getting into the college, then he switched to be a piano major, and now yet again he wanted to change his major to conducting and composition.

It wasn’t far-fetched that Leonardo was a prodigy and he was well aware of it. But it was made most of the mentors he was put under to get irritated rather than be impressed.

He walked through the hallway’s passing Claire, a fellow piano major. She turned towards him, giving him a worried look.

He ignored her, heading towards the lecture rooms in determination to find- or rather, blackmail a mentor into taking him.

He stopped at the first door, watching through the transparent glass as Madame Magritte put four new students through a sonata. He frowned, shaking his head as he eliminated her from the list of potential mentors.

He didn’t like her methods. Besides, she preferred new and unlearned students she could easily ‘program’ to perfection. There was no way she would be pleased to have a proud student like Leo under her.

Leo continued observing ongoing classed, eliminating potential mentors one at a time. It’s not like he felt the teachers weren’t qualified, he just felt certain people fared better with certain mentors.

He stopped at the door of Marie’s class with a smile. She was a cute small girl with a pixie haircut that he admired. She was playing her flute with a look of concentration as she read the music form the sheets.

Maybe he could go to her teacher? He was a plum short master that respected a student’s personal touch in their music.

Leonardo shook his head, convinced that such a teacher was really not for him. He needed someone who was strict but not too strict.

He continued his walk through the hallways, stopping to check on various classes. He’d stopped at a particular slightly opened door.

‘What’s this?’ He thought to himself as he tried to make sense of the fractured music piece. It sounded familiar, like a recent concerto he’d been asked to play.

He watched through the crack as a young man around his age continued to play without music reference.

Slowly the fractured feeling the piece invoked started to sound more personalized and raw. It was no longer a fault but a seemingly induced error that brought about sharper and clearer tones.

He watched in awe as the man continued to seemly play without looking at the piano. The man’s dark hair fell over his eyes in the impression of a thin curtain as his hands continued to dance on the piano’s keyboard.

At the end of the piece he watched as the master who he had not observed before got up and approached the student; praising but at the same time giving light criticism.

Leonardo’s throat went dry. He wanted to play like that. He wanted to personalize his own music to that extent. He wanted to conduct something like that.

He backed away from the door wondering if the master took conducting students. He didn’t see the master around much, and he wasn’t probably a very popular tutor.

He walked away as the bell went, walking down to the bottom floor to his locker.

“What have you been up to?” Claire asked coming up next to him. She was worried about him. He’d stormed out from their class together over a week ago and he hadn’t been able to find a new tutor to rectify his change in majors yet.

“You know.” He said shrugging before giving Claire a forced smile. She sighed, opening her locker that was right next to his. Leonardo had so much pride, and she was afraid he wasn’t going to return back even if he didn’t find a new tutor.

“Mr. Charles asked about you today.” She said giving him a calm gaze as she waited for his reaction. She felt if she made Mr. Charles sound a little desperate to have Leonardo he might consider coming back.

“Oh really?” Leo said taking his books out his locker before closing it. His violin was hidden somewhere between his mass of music notes, but the sight of the instrument now irritated him to new heights although he’d decided to keep it as his minor.

“Don’t be stubborn, just return to class.” Claire insisted as she brushed her blonde bangs aside. Leo shook his head muttering a small no.

“I found someone today,” Leo announced as he and Claire headed to the small cafeteria. The change of environment was obvious. The room was a lot more stuffy and noisy than any other part of the school.

They found their way through the crowd of students to their personal table. James and Mary were already there and gave them small nods of recognition before returning their attention to their music sheets.

“Leonardo has refused to apologize to Mr. Charles,” Claire informed as they settled down on their seats.

James shook his head in disapproval. “It’s better now than later. Mr. Charles has just a big a pride as you and he doesn’t take it likely when it’s wounded.”

“Well too bad, I’ve found someone else,” Leonardo said, searching through his bag for his wallet.

“And who exactly is this someone?” Claire asked, clearly not believing Leo. Leonardo finally found his wallet and took out some money for his meal.

“Well?” Claire asked, desperate to catch Leo in his supposed lie.

“The master of class seventy-two, do you know him?” Leo asked, wondering if he’d memorized the class number correctly.

“No, can you describe one of his students?” Marie asked, suddenly taking interest in the conversation, her big brown eyes watching Leo intensely.

“He has only one; male, with dark long hair,” Leo said, getting up from his seat. “Excuse me, I have to get something to eat, I’m starving.” He said before making his exit.

“Do you know who that is?” Claire asked the table in Leo’s absence.

“I think so...” Marie trailed, looking up at Leo who was now heading back with a tray of food.

“Well?” Leonardo said as he settled back in his seat.

“I think I know his student,” James said speaking up for the first, his eyes still intently fixed on his music sheets.

“Who is he?” Leo asked, taking a spoon full of spaghetti.

“Alejandro De’valia, I suppose. He’s Estaphina’s blind brother,” James said, laying his sheets down to inspect a certain part, his curly ginger head falling over his forehead.

“Blind?” Claire said with a frown.

“That makes sense.” Leo jumped in, snapping his fingers. “He played with no music sheets.”

“That’s impressive,” Marie said with wide eyes.

“I play without music sheets,” James said, looking up for the first time.

“Well, after cramming all the notes,” Marie teased, making James give her a furious glance.

“I’m going to ask around if his tutor also takes students in conducting,” Leo said, undoing the bottle cap of his soda bottle.

Claire pouted, resting her head on the table. It was obvious she wasn’t too pleased with Leo’s decision to quit their class. He was the only other person Claire spoke to in the whole class.

“You really are leaving aren’t you?” She said with a pout, her brows furrowed in a frown of annoyance.

“Lucky you, switching majors like its nothing. I can’t do any other thing than play the flute.” Marie sulked, taking a sip from her previously ignored soda can.

“And no tutor can say no to you,” James added. Leonardo was what you called a prodigy. Who didn’t want to be credited with brushing up a prodigy?

“You guys shouldn’t say things like that yet, I haven’t even asked.” Leonardo pleaded, feeling quite flustered by the comments.

“He’s right. Don’t get his hopes too high,” Claire said making to ruffle Leo’s head of hair in a playful manner. The table burst into laughter as Leo swatted Claire’s hand to rearrange his blonde locks.

Although Leo wasn’t quite confident if he’d get accepted he’d at least made a breakthrough, He’d decided on a master.

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